Labs, NIH zero in on painless vaccine technology

The Infectious Disease Research Institute and Medicago plan to remove the 'ouch' factor from vaccinations. The pair is working on delivering virus-like particles through a device that uses pain-free microneedles.

Israel's NanoPass designed a device that uses tiny, sharp blades to scratch the first layer of skin. This delivers the vaccine formula to dendritic cells, which then pass through the body to stimulate protection, according to MSNBC. The vaccine is delivered through a needle-less syringe, something doctors believe most individuals can handle on their own.

"Our idea is to ultimately produce a one-dose vaccine that you could give yourself--imagine a flu vaccine that you can easily administer using a simple, painless microneedle device arriving in your mailbox," IDRI's Darrick Carter said, as quoted by MSNBC.

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of National Institutes of Health, is funding studies to create a vaccine with better response in a shorter amount of time than current vaccines.

But IDRI and Medicago aren't alone in the search for needle-less vaccines; PaxVax, of San Diego, CA, is also working on a different type of delivery, creating a capsule to vaccinate against anthrax. And Georgia Tech developed a patch embedded with microneedles that sticks to the skin and dissolves. It was tested against flu and polio.

-more from MSNBC

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